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Medical English / 13. 7. 2009

Live Long and Prosper / By Tom Secrest

The words in the title are typical words of parting in Vulcan society and were used most famously by Mr. Spock, Vulcan’s best known ambassador. However, if Vulcans had lived in Greece, they might very well have changed it to “Eat a Mediterranean Diet and Prosper,” which, if loosely translated, means about the same thing, but clearly lacks the panache.

In a recent study (24 June 2009, BMJ) the Mediterranean Diet was carefully dissected to reveal which of its rudiments provide the greatest benefits. While much of the information is widely know, and generally accepted, the study put numbers to what heretofore had been accepted wisdom based on anecdotal evidence. In order of contribution: (i) moderate alcohol consumption (23.5%), (ii) less meat (16.6%), (iii) more vegetables (16.2%), (iv) more fruits and nuts (11.2%), (v) olive oil (10.6%), and (vi) more legumes (9.7%). Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA) noted that while this study did not evaluate causes of death, previous studies in the same cohort have shown that the Mediterranean diet has the greatest impact on cardiac mortality.

The study also suggests that no one element is likely to have a significant impact. There is some evidence to indicate that sum may be greater than the parts. Although, what was interesting is that the benefits still seem to be present despite the fact that the stereotypical image of Greeks was confirmed by the study. Researchers observed that being overweight or obese was not at all uncommon and smoking, especially among men, was common.

What was a bit unexpected was that more cereal products and reduced diary intake seemed to have little impact on longevity, and interestingly, as it turns out, you can eat fish until you turn into a tuna, but the effects will be negligible.

So thanks to the ‘French paradox,’ we can raise a glass of wine and toast to our health; and after you have finished a sumptuous Mediterranean meal with your friends, enjoyed a moderate amount of alcohol, laughed, joked and sang, and the time has come for fare-thee-wells, boldly say what no man, or woman, has ever said before, “Eat a Mediterranean Diet and Prosper.”


  • however – nicméně, ať tak nebo tak
  • loosely – přibližně, volně
  • panache – elegance, švih, šmrnc,
  • reveal – odhalit
  • rudiments – základy, zde: prvky, součásti
  • widely – obecně
  • heretofore – až dosud
  • anecdotal – neoficiální
  • legumes – luštěniny
  • element – prvek, složka, faktor
  • unexpected – neočšekávaný
  • longevity – dlouhověkost
  • negligible – zanedbatelný
  • sumptuous – nákladný, přepychový
  • boldly – bez obalu, odvážně, drze


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